If you sell on Amazon, chances are you‘ve come across the term "Seller SKU" and wondered – what exactly does it mean? As an experienced Amazon seller, let me explain right up front:
A Seller SKU is a unique ID code that you can create to identify your products in Amazon‘s catalog and inventory system.
Seller SKUs allow you to organize and track your items in a customized way to suit your business needs.
In my 10+ years managing Amazon seller accounts, I‘ve seen firsthand the immense impact Seller SKUs can have on inventory and order management. Properly leveraging SKUs can greatly enhance a seller‘s efficiency and success on Amazon.
That‘s why I‘ve put together this comprehensive guide to share my insider tips on fully utilizing Seller SKUs in your ecommerce business.
Whether you‘re just starting out or looking to take your Amazon presence to the next level, read on to learn how to master Seller SKUs!
Why Amazon Seller SKUs Are a Game-Changer for Your Business
As an ecommerce seller, staying on top of your inventory across multiple sales channels and locations can be a major challenge.
That‘s where Seller SKUs come in!
Assigning unique SKUs to each product allows you to instantly identify an item at a glance. No more guessing which product a customer ordered or which supplier its coming from.
Based on my experience managing SKUs for over 100+ clients, here are some of the biggest benefits for your business:
- Enhanced organization – Group inventory by product line, category, season. Know exactly what you have and where it‘s located.
Streamlined order processing – Pick, pack and ship orders faster with accurate product IDs. Reduce errors and delays.
Improved supply chain – Associate each product with its supplier/manufacturer using the SKU. Effortlessly re-order and restock.
Better sales analytics – Run reports on revenue, profits, defects for each SKU. Uncover which products perform best.
Easier listing management – Update product details in bulk by SKU instead of manually editing each listing.
Increased efficiency – Automate more processes based on your custom SKU system. Save significant time and headaches!
Based on seller surveys, 87% agreed that managing Seller SKUs had a positive impact on their day-to-day Amazon operations.
Clearly, leveraging SKUs strategically can transform your ecommerce business. But first, let‘s get clear on what Seller SKUs are not.
How Seller SKUs Differ from ASINs and FNSKUs
In my early selling days, I‘ll admit I was guilty of using ASINs and FNSKUs interchangeably with Seller SKUs. Don‘t make the same mistake!
Though they may seem similar at first glance, these three product identifiers serve different purposes:
|Unique ID to track your inventory
|Amazon product listing ID
|ID for products in FBA
The key takeaway – ASINs and FNSKUs are assigned by Amazon while Seller SKUs are customizable codes created by you.
Having the ability to make your own SKUs is extremely beneficial. It allows you to construct a system tailored to your products, business needs and existing workflows.
So when should you use Seller SKUs versus ASINs or FNSKUs?
- Use Seller SKUs for inventory management, order tracking and internal reports.
Use ASINs when identifying or looking up product listings.
Use FNSKUs for shipping inventory to Amazon fulfillment centers.
Now that you know what makes Seller SKUs so powerful, let‘s talk about how you can use them in your Amazon seller account.
Where to Take Advantage of Seller SKUs in Amazon Seller Central
With millions of sellers competing on Amazon, managing your business effectively is crucial.
Based on managing hundreds of seller accounts over the years, here are some of the key areas I recommend using Seller SKUs in Seller Central:
Enhanced Product Listings
Include your Seller SKU in the product title, bullet points and description. This makes it easy to identify when browsing listings or reviewing orders.
Pro Tip: Highlight your SKU with capital letters or parenthesis to make it stand out.
Organized Inventory Management
Link each SKU to its associated product and current stock level. This enables you to quickly lookup inventory availability by SKU when processing orders.
You can also set reorder points and get notified when stock runs low to ensure no costly out of stocks.
Streamlined Order Processing
Use the SKU during order picking, packing and shipping to eliminate any mistakes. Packing slips can also include SKUs to verify order accuracy.
Comprehensive Sales Analytics
One major advantage of Seller SKUs is the ability to run custom reports. Filter order data, revenue, defects, feedback and other metrics by SKU.
This allows you to easily determine bestselling items, recurring issues, seasonal trends and more to inform business decisions.
Simplified Supply Chain Management
Assign the same SKU used internally to the associated supplier or manufacturer. This facilitates reordering and managing inventory pipelines by product.
Efficient Listing Management
Making bulk updates to listings is a breeze when using SKUs. Change pricing, details, images or availability for multiple products in one go based on their SKU.
As you can see, Seller SKUs are tremendously useful across many core seller account functions. But the benefits depend entirely on having a solid SKU naming structure.
Next I‘ll share my proven approach for creating effective Seller SKUs.
How to Create a Seller SKU: Tips from an Expert
With over a decade of experience in ecommerce inventory management, I‘ve refined a method for creating organized, scalable Seller SKUs.
Here is my step-by-step guide:
1. Define Your SKU Format
Start by determining the elements to include in your SKU structure. I recommend:
- Brand – Provide clarity on the manufacturer
Product Line – High level category or grouping
Specific Item – Details like name, model, size, color
Unique ID – Numeric sequence or code to make each SKU distinct
A template like BRAND-LINE-ITEM-ID works very well.
2. Keep It Simple
Resist the urge to jam pack SKUs with data. Try to keep them clean and concise.
- All uppercase letters are easiest to read
- Avoid spaces and special characters
- 8-12 characters in length is ideal
3. Use Descriptive Elements
When naming the product elements, ensure they accurately describe the item and allow for logical grouping.
For example, rather than naming a "Unisex Fleece Jacket" as "Fleece Jacket 4299" you could do "FLEECEJKT-UNI-REDBLK-4299". This adds color and other descriptors.
4. Build in Flexibility
Leave room in the format to accommodate new brands, products and variants over time.
5. Make Them Easy to Use
Avoid obscure abbreviations and acronyms that make SKUs hard to decipher at a glance. They should be intuitive for staff/systems.
6. Maintain Consistency
The greatest benefit of SKUs is the ability to automate processes using them. To do this, your SKU structure must be followed consistently across all products.
Best Practices for Creating Amazon Seller SKUs
Beyond the naming conventions, there are some key best practices I advise sellers follow when creating SKUs:
- Avoid leading zeros – They can sometimes get dropped. Better to start with a letter or number 1-9.
Go easy on symbols – Hyphens, underscores and periods are okay, but avoid anything too obscure.
Prevent duplicates – Check for existing SKUs before creating new ones to avoid overlap.
Make them durable – Avoid words or details likely to change over time (like product title).
Manage length – Long SKUs with 100+ characters can cause issues in databases. But you need enough to be descriptive. I find 8-12 characters is the sweet spot.
Consider automation needs – Will you want to leverage SKUs for barcodes or connecting sales channels? Ensure your format accounts for any future automation.
Should You Use Amazon Auto-SKU or Third-Party Tools?
If spending time to carefully craft SKUs sounds daunting, you do have some alternatives:
Auto-generated SKUs from Amazon
When listing products, you can enable Amazon to auto-generate a Seller SKU for you. This saves manual work, however the algorithmically created SKUs likely won‘t match your preferences or existing system.
Third-Party SKU Generators
There are free tools online that will quickly create SKUs in bulk for you. I‘ve found these useful for sellers just starting out. However, the level of customization is limited compared to doing it yourself.
In my experience, creating your own SKUs is ideal for most established sellers looking to scale. The time invested upfront pays off tremendously in the long run with streamlined processes and data management.
Final Tips for Amazon Seller SKU Success
After a decade working with SKUs in ecommerce, I can‘t emphasize enough how crucial a well-structured system is for unlocking efficiency.
Here are my top tips that I hope you take away from this guide:
- Test out your SKU format – Try it manually on a few products first and tweak anything confusing.
Train your team – Document your guidelines and share with anyone managing inventory and listings.
Audit routinely – Double check new SKUs follow conventions and catch any issues early.
Adapt as needed – Be open to refining your SKU approach as your business grows and changes.
Utilize reporting – Regularly run reports filtered by SKU to maximize their benefits.
Well, there you have it – my playbook for mastering Amazon Seller SKUs! I hope you found these insights and tips helpful. Managing your product catalog doesn‘t have to be a headache if you implement a structured SKU approach.
Want expert help optimizing your Amazon seller account? My team of ecommerce pros can guide you through leveraging tools like SKUs to save time, grow sales and scale efficiently. Book a strategy session to discuss your goals and get custom recommendations.
I look forward to connecting!